- Politics and Social Issues»
- Middle East Political & Social Issues
Now is as good a time as any
Keep it real? Who's kidding who?
It is a mean world. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Middle East. Granted, experts know much more about it. There are those who have devoted literal lifetimes to the analysis of a geo-political mess that defies the best efforts of the best minds. But ordinary people, who glom on to what is happening over there every once in a while, are also involved. They might not be up to snuff when it comes to exotic politics with fanatical religious overtones. But what goes around comes around. Middle Eastern thoughts and actions impact our own lives. That is the nature of terror. A settlement is created, or a cartoon drawn, and all hell breaks loose. And thus it seems legitimate to exercise one's own uninformed mentality in an attempt to both understand and, in the abstract, solve a persistent and dangerous problem.
Many facts are well known. The massacre of our Marines in 1983 in Beirut especially comes to mind. This was the outcome of exceptionally good intentions on the part of America that went horribly wrong. Ever since -- and pre-dating the 1982 incursion, too -- Lebanon has posed a particularly agonizing problem. Like the Palestinians, the Lebanese have become a displaced people. The country as it is today is merely a remnant of what it once was, dominated, off and on, by its Syrian neighbor. Since Syria has also destabilized, this is hardly a cheerful arrangement. One might also add in Iraq, another country that has gone through too much devastation to ever fully recover. If this is the case, there are at least three nations that can no longer be defined as such. Rather, they are casualties of the upheavals of the late 20th century and early 21st.
True enough, these nations have long histories, and they are evoked in almost every discussion relating to what the future might confer on their destinies. Among their awesome pasts, pre-dating the bible, are numerous occupations, including, but not limited to Sumeria, Assyria, Babylonia, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Borders change, names change, religions change, and governments change, but the inhabitants survive. Their homelands will likely transform themselves once again, if they are to continue. But what about the possibility of taking hold of present conditions to re-shape the map in favor of Western interests? Why not a step forward instead of wasted energy trying to reconstruct begone eras that no longer exist or a futuristic scenario that is pure science fiction? A larger, more northern Israel would mean pushing her enemies farther away, and then creating a no man's land to serve as a buffer. Certain Muslims would no longer be welcome inside a prescribed perimeter
To do this would entail a great deal of insensitivity on behalf of Christian-Jewish relations, but what of it? How sensitive are Israel's enemies? Nations, unlike individuals, are not constrained by the imitation of Christ. And today's strand of mutant, resistant, impervious anti-Semitism is opposed to Christianity, too, though this topic, like so many others having to do with the Middle East, is complicated. In the final analysis, however, indifference to suffering is a constant in current affairs. It is always at any given time a matter of variegated degrees. The shabby treatment and unapologetic mistreatment of humanity in this region is hardly flattering to the human race. More to the point, the hypocrisy of pretending to deal with the Middle East in a fashion that will please all parties involved, including a stunning array of the biblical-minded, is unrealistic.
So how would Israel absorb parts of Lebanon and Syria, if not Iraq (somehow) and survive unpredictable reprisals? Who knows? As it is, however, these countries are a constant threat to Israel. Appeasement is not the appropriate strategy nor is the occasional aerial bombardment. Drastic change in the form of a measured geographical response can set the stage for a less virulent stalemate to last, hopefully, a long time. Since 1948, hardly an overture of genuine peacefulness has succeeded. Jordan, happily enough, appears content to share Israel's east. But its blockage toward expansion poses a challenge. The northlands are vulnerable, while Egypt, more resilient and capable, remains to the south. The turmoil in Gaza expresses the need eloquently enough for more land and the benefits that greater insulation can achieve. The whole scenario described herein seems ridiculous, admittedly, but so does the idea of a peace process.. Why torment displaced people with the perpetual hope of a return that is not going to happen? Why hold out olive branches at all? We loved those ceremonies on television that brought Middle Eastern enemies together, and many of us really thought that they were going to inaugurate a new age of reason, effective and long-lasting. Why not face up also to the fact that human beings have severe limitations, and nowhere is this more evident than in the holy land. And therefore, why not strive more for a desirable imperfection rather than one that snaps back at us every so often with death and destruction?